by Laramie Knox
When asked how he felt about ending his teaching career at Bell, computer science teacher Mike Ladley said he is bittersweet about the four years he’s spent here.
“I wish I’d been out here 25 years ago,” he said.
Ladley, who began teaching in Cleburne initially, “stayed up late filling out the online application” the night he saw an opening at Bell for his desired position. He had been working in Weatherford for 22 years at that point.
“My friends had so many negative things to say [about Bell],” Ladley said. “But I’d put this school against any school in Texas.”
Ladley is grateful for the “dedicated teachers” and passionate students, some of who threw him a surprise retirement party recently.
“I’m not speechless very often, but I was then,” Ladley said about the celebration his Computer Science 2 class had for him, complete with a guitar shaped cake to honor his music hobby.
After teaching for 33 years, Ladley will be staying in Weatherford to fix up old houses.
Teresa Baker has been a counselor at Bell for 10 years, but she had been here decades before, not knowing it would be her home in the future.
“I taught here for one semester 32 years ago,” Baker said. “I came back when I got my counseling certification.”
Baker, who taught English for 21 years, is thankful for the different environment of being a counselor.
“Since [the counselors] are placed alphabetically, we get to see the transition over three years,” she said.
Baker will continue to work with kids after retiring, as she plans to volunteer as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). This way she will be a counselor for youth removed from foster care system and in need of homes.
As she will be assigned only a couple of cases as a CASA instead of the hundreds she works with at Bell, she will be a personal voice for children who need one.
“You get to be the one steady piece of their life,” Baker said.
While Baker is sad to leave the “family” of the front office, she is excited to begin her new job and spend time with her granddaughters.